THEATRE SETS

When I went to Munich in 1962, to enroll at the Academy of Fine Arts, I first took a walk round the University campus and on the notice board of the Law Faculty I saw an announcement, inviting those interested to attend the meeting of the members of the "Studiobühne", the student theatre of the University, where I went the same evening. The "Studiobühne" playhouse was in the basement of a large building with the horrible name Haus des Rechts -House of the Law- but I liked the place because it had a concrete column in the middle that reminded me of the Karolos Kuhn's "Art Theatre" in Athens, where I used to go faithfully since I was sixteen. The assembly met for elections and after the director, the dramaturge and the cashier were chosen by acclamation. There was no candidate for technical director, so I raised my hand. The assembly looked at me pitifully and the newly-elected board asked me where I was from and what I had studied. In the absence of other nominations they elected me unanimously.

When I saw the condition of the backstage area, which was used for dressing room, wardrobe, lighting console and storage of sets and props I understood the reason for their mockery... The play approved by the assembly was "In the Jungle of Cities" by Berthold Brecht, and Charlie Tauss, director and actor, entrusted me with the execution of sets and costumes... Things were that simple back in 1962.

I worked two years -manually- in the Studiobühne. Among the many people, who became known actors and directors of the "New German Cinema" were Otto Sander, Peter Stein, Alf Brustellin, Bernhard Sinkel and Roland Gall between others.

In 1964 a group from "Studiobühne" started mounting plays in the Schwabing theatre district, first in the little Theater 44 and later in the larger "Theater in der Leopoldstrasse", which also ensured us a small wage.

The following plays, for which I did the designs give some idea of the decade's repertoire:

  • 1963 Im Dickicht der Städte, Berthold Brecht
         La Giara, Luigi Pirandello
         Le sacrifice du bourreau, René de Obaldia
         Le Défunt, René de Obaldia
         Le Grand Visir , René de Obaldia
  • 1964 Le bel indifférent, Jean Cocteau
         Poivre de Cayenne, René de Obaldia
         Nacht mit Gästen, Peter Weiss
         Die Kurve, Tankred Dorst
         The Knack and How to Get It, Ann Jellicoe
         Arden of Feversham in Kent, Anonymous
  • 1965 La Nouvelle Mandragore, Jean Vauthier
         Endgame, Samuel Beckett
         Delitto all'isola delle capre, Ugo Betti
         Les Maxibules, Marcel Aymé
  • 1966 Look Back in Anger, John Osborne
         Filumena Marturano, Eduardo De Filippo
  • 1970 Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams
         Α Taste of Honey, Shelagh Delaney
  • 1971 Les Justes, Albert Camus
         Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekhov
  • 1974 La Foire d’Empoigne, Jean Anouilh

STUDIOBÜHNE

Of all my jobs in STUDIOBÜHNE I only found photos of some miniatures, models and sets. If it hasn't yet been recycled, there must be a fat dossier with the originals in some Academy junk room.

THEATER 44

THEATER 44 was located in a large basement of Hohenzollernstrasse 44. Owner, manager, director and lead actor in most performances was Horst Adolf Reichel, the most fanatic "theatre maniac" I have met. Horst worked, lived and cohabited within the rooms of the theater, in which the theatrical repertoire alternated with the political cabaret RATIONALTHEATER. Another peculiarity of THEATER 44 was the beer-hall tables, where naturally the consumption of beverages was encouraged! I do not remember exactly how I got there to prove myself, but probably I had already acquired a reputation for working with meagre resources, a skill of vital importance for THEATER 44. Probably I functioned as an advance scout for the Studiobühne group, which then moved there.

SCHAUBÜHNE LEOPOLDSTRASSE

In 1965 I got a job in SCHAUBUHNE that had moved to the THEATER IN DER LEOPOLDSTRASSE. SCHAUBUHNE sent its productions on tours, which I often followed until the last rehearsals. In the beginning I executed other designers' sets, but in early 1966, Helmut Duna, the boss, asked me to design the set for a farce whose title I've forgotten. I had "executed" so many identical British salons, that forgetting it was inevitable.